Thursday, January 27, 2005

Brash bashes beneficiaries?

'Beneficiary-bashing' is a popular New Zealand phrase. Lately we're also quite fond of 'Brash-bashing'. Alliteration is fun! Yesterday, the Dominion Post headlined with "War on Welfare" but I think "Brash Bashes Beneficiaries" would have been better.

It's not bashing, though. For bashing you need a stick, not a carrot. Brash thinks that in some cases, benefits are an incentive to be on welfare. In such cases, Brash wants to take away the carrot. He also wants to remove disincentives for employers to employ the unemployed.

The best idea in his Orewa II speech is to reduce the risk to employers of taking on "risky" beneficiaries by introducing a 90-day trial period during which the parties can agree that employment can be ended without penalty to the employer.

This idea has met with a predictable socialist response. Carol Beaumont of the NZCTU says that Brash’s policy of a 90-day trial period for new employees would be open to abuse by employers and fail to protect the rights of workers to secure employment.

Labour Party blogger Greg Stephens says that Brash's proposal is "so that labour can rotate and bosses never have to give pay rises, instead they get a new worker every 90 days".

Green MP Sue Bradford says, "if such a policy was ever introduced, unscrupulous employers would take on workers at the minimum wage, treat them badly for three months, then fire them for no reason, and the sacked employee would have no comeback in law." She almost makes it sound like contracting!

These people have no idea how hard it is to sack employees who fail to perform, once they are employed. Believe it or not, sometimes you can't even sack employees whom you never employed in the first place. Read about the experience of the Crest Commercial Cleaning company. (Isn't alliteration great?!)


At 10:06 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have thought that, given New Zealand's small size and the current extremely tight labour market, any attempt to rotate workers every ninety days would be doomed to failure anyway...

At 3:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mitchell has it right. You should read Jim Peron's article on this
Brash Bashing Sure to Increase.
I love that site.

At 6:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you think the benfit is a carrot? you ever tried to live on one?

At 3:02 am, Blogger Richard said...

I lived (if you can call it that) on a benefit for many years and suffered financial hardship.
I think that not being on a benefit is not like being beaten with a stick. The phrase 'beneficiary-bashing' is a bad metaphor.

At 11:51 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Brash thinks that in some cases, benefits are an incentive to be on welfare."


"Bob thinks that in some cases, working is an incentive to have a job."

If you're going to play around with semantics, at least try to avoid tautology.

- Pearce

At 4:03 pm, Blogger Richard said...

My sentence is more akin to

"Pearce thinks that in some cases, wages are an incentive to have a job."

Ambiguous, perhaps, but not tautologous.


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